The Historic VictoryThe BJP/Modi has won India's general elections 2014. It has been termed a landslide victory. Leaving the Congress to do the job of reflection, it went for a celebration.
But then, while the results surprised both the BJP and the Congress by the scale of the victory, it surprised pollsters with the correctness of their predictions (after getting it wrong twice before). By ending normalised coalition politics and the canvassing on the lines of cast, ethnicity and creed, and beginning assurance of development for all and use of technology, it also created history.
The Mission Impossible:With the Congress ruling over most of the post independence period and therefore having both the knowhow to win elections and the organization with deep roots in the voting villages, the question arises 'How did the BJP bring about this landslide?'
The Factors That HelpedAlthough, Modi factor was obvious and everybody gave him the credit for the victory, there were multiple facts that acted in a synergistic way towards the outcome.
1. Narendra Modi:
Despite coming from the end where he was the focus of media vilification, Modi, amazingly, almost became as liked as the much loved John F Kennedy of USA. The peculiar thing about him and his ways was that almost all people identified with him, in some way. For the lower cast he was of a lower cast, for the hardliners he was an avowed Hindu leader, for the older voters he was old, for the young he was a technophile, for the poor he was a tea seller, for democracy lovers his climb represented the beauty of democracy, for the anti-cast fighters he was a man who climbed up in the Brahmin party and for the Muslims he was one who offered development (the virulent accusation of 2002 riots became 'let bygones be bygones').
He not only brought about a personality to identify with, he gave hope for a developed, corruption free and globally competing India. In addition, while his family lack made his corruption free slogan believable, his proclaimed Gujarat achievements and not general but state specific programmes made his futuristic vision trusted. And when he threw well designed, articulated and tuned gybes, realities and plans in a well coordinated body language his speeches were as mesmerising as that of President Obama. He even articulated the latter's 'yes we can'.
And when he criss-crossed the whole country - almost like the Adi Sankaracharya-and familiarised himself with the people of all states, he also delivered the above package darning local dress and topping his speeches with local languages. While his calmness after a blast in his Bihar meet showed how cool a leader he was, his 4 speeches a day marathon without fatigue or illness while criss-crossing India showed how warm his blood was.
Although, not quite as vociferous against corruption as the AAP party, with the Congress being riddled with corruption and having a perceived foreigner at its helm, its 'Congress less India' carried the emotions of 'Quite India' of the Raj times. Sending gybes against a ruling dynasty, itself had the colour of a revolution. In totality, his impact was enough to create a wave in many parts of India.
More Factors2. The Hindutwa Force:
Utilizing their established branches, the Hindu organizations like the RSS and VHP, and Ramdev and other religious forces were essentially used as hidden teeth - infusing Hindutwa all the way. With their help BJP was able to utilise the pulling power of Hindutwa that it itself couldn't and reach states, where it dint have offices or workers. No wonder, after the elections BJP stalwarts thanked the RSS/VHP, Ramdev and the others involved for their great help.
3. The Aam Admi Party:
Although AAP dint patent transcending of cast, creed, ethnicity and language in politics, its Delhi election ways was praised even by its opponents. It dominating media dint help the BJP but its use of lettered caps, social media and door to door campaign certainly made BJP a copy cat. Fighting for a clean government; although it was feared to slice BJP votes and produce a hung parliament, it sliced the Congress' Muslim vote bank more. BJP became the de facto beneficiary.
4. The Use of Technology:
Getting the stimulus from AAP and ways from Obama, BJP used social media and the mobile text messaging to the till. Like AAP, it also had a dedicated NRI force that volunteered to support it; even landed from the West. And when a Congressman, Mr Aiyar suggested that Modi should sell tea and Ms Irani wanted to turn the table onto its head, merging technology and tradition Modi did exactly that; he started 'Tea stall chat'. Although abandoned later, reaching millions, it did bring dividends. The 3D airing not only reached millions easily and cost effectively, and created history, it brought the dividends of an amplified 'Modi equals development'.
Even More Factors5. The Winning Strategy:
Unlike the just aiding Muslim vote bank, if created, a Hindu vote bank could bring a party directly to power. A great temptation indeed! But then, with Ram mandhir slogan that worked once, only bringing 'communal', 'untouchable' and 'threat to secularism' that could divide the Hindus, it did not overtly touch it - not even the H word. Avoiding that and yet trying to reap the benefit of both (development and Hindutwa) or as having a cake and eating it too, it brilliantly divided its ways into showing and biting teeth. While the showing teeth vociferously harped development visions and said no to religion till the last days (picture of Ram at Ajodhya meet) and thus avoided secularist's ire, biting teeth aired Hindutwa. In the later case, while as an unspoken advertisement it relied on Modi's hardliner Hindu image and as a mild assertion it put the Ram temple in the last pages of its manifesto, as a major act it let loose a full blown Hindutwa through the RSS/VHP cadres. The strategy, not only safely answered 'How to bring all Hindus together?', as a bonus it even brought Muslim support.
And when the tracing of Agatsya Rhishi and wondering South dint work, lady from the East showed darkness than sun rays and need for post poll support couldn't be entirely excluded it amazingly did a pre-poll alliance with some of the rest. Although a leader, Nitish Kumar, left the coalition to see disaster later, the formed pre-poll coalition is claimed to be numerically at the top.
And when tiensel-town's strength was seen like a movie parallel to India being Bollywood mad, while BJP/Modi called and gave tickets to its stars, Modi met the big ones that mattered more.
Although it dint come up with an intelligent answer to why Modi was standing from two constituencies- Banaras and Vadodara - tracing the teaching 'Road to Delhi goes through UP and Bihar' and 'cultural capital of India', BJP rightly made him candidate for Banaras, where faith (Hindutwa) and development merged and benefited accordingly.